Find Storage on a Closet Door

Helloooooo! Yass, it’s been a while, but I’m back…today anyway. The weather broke and we’re back to typical North Carolina winter weather (50s and 60s), so I dug out from under the mountain of blankets, peeled myself from the sofa, and by Gawd I did a little DIY. Woot woot!

I’m embarrassed to say (not really, because y’all know me by now) that I’ve been meaning to do this simple little ditty for a couple of months. Here’s a variation of it (Closet Organization Sans Tools) that I did back at the condo a few years ago. Actually, almost four years to the day–coincidences like that fascinate me. Apparently the end of January is when my organizational impulse kicks in.

Before I get off track though, the Closet Organization Sans Tools was about utilizing the inside of a closet door for storage where maybe you don’t own a drill or perhaps you’re renting and drilling holes is a no-no. Today’s project takes it just one step further by adding a drill and more permanent fasteners.

Tools/Supplies

  • Three inexpensive hooks ($3.25 ea)
  • A drill w/drill bit and phillips head bit
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Step ladder (if you’re short like me)
Some simple tools will do the trick.

The Problem

I have three backpacks that take up real estate on the floor or valuable shelf space. And I’m never sure which closet each one is in. It’s been status quo for me to check all three closets before I find the backpack I’m looking for. Before you ask, yes, I need three backpacks. I need the big pack for travel, medium pack for my laptop and sometimes travel, and small pack for Grace–it’s the equivalent of a diaper bag for my pup’s stuff when we hike or road trip (for the basics: treats, bowl, water, poo bags). Yep, my dog has her own micro pack and I’m okay with that!

Three backpacks and a small closet.

The Solution

Install a series of hooks on the back side of the closet door on which to hang backpacks. They’ll be in one location and not taking up coveted closet space.

The hooks in action. Tiny closet = poor photography!

Installation

  • MAKE YOUR MARK. If you like for everything to be just so, measure the center of your door so you can get the hook centered. If you don’t care about that, eyeball it and ditch the tape measure.
  • LEVEL. Mark one hole with a pencil, and then use the level to get the hook straight before you mark the second hole. I do like to have things level and cannot hang anything without one.
  • DRILL. Drill pilot holes slightly smaller in circumference and shorter than the screws.
  • ATTACH. Use the screwdriver bit on your drill to attach the hooks with the screws.

Tips

  • Hold the level across the bottom of the hook. You have more of a plane to work with on the bottom rather than the tips of the hooks on top. Trying to use the level on top of the hooks gets pretty squirrelly.
  • If your arms aren’t the guns they once were, hold the drill no higher than mid-chest. You’ll have more control and leverage to put behind the drill when tightening the screws. If I get my arms above mid-chest, I’m more likely to not have the pressure I need behind it and strip the screw heads. This is where the step ladder comes in–so you can get at that top hook and still hold the drill mid-chest.
Use the level across the bottom of the hook rather than trying to rest it on top.

This project took about 20 minutes from start to finish and the backpacks are all together, out of sight, and occupying what was previously dead space. A win-win-win! Trifecta! Triple-header! You get the idea.

The backpacks are out of sight and not taking up closet space. You can’t even see them!

And that’s a wrap! Less than $10 and 20 minutes to get the backpacks off the floor, out of the way, and where I’ll always know to find them. I call that a productive rainy Sunday. If you’ve found a use for dead space in your closet, let me know–I’d love to share your ideas on the blog!

Cheers!
Kelly

Built-in Media Cabinet Becomes Mini Mudroom

One of my favorite rooms at the new place is the living room. The living room has a ton of windows (seven of them), enough space for the usual furniture, a fireplace, and even a nook for my desk. The windows look out to several trees and that is where the desk lives within the nook. I get to write while gazing into the leaves of trees, alive with birds and squirrels, and if the season is right, gorgeous pink blossoms. Of course, the room was screaming to be a different color, but that was easy enough to remedy. I love it.

But you know me…there was one little thing that wasn’t quite right. There was a built-in media cabinet, which would be fine, except it was between the fireplace and the door, not even in the line of sight from where the sofa would be. It was O.D.D. at best (that’s code for “odd”).

Before: media cabinet wedged between doorway and fireplace; orange-ish walls. I can do better.

While the media cabinet was well-built, its size and position immediately inside the doorway made me feel as though I were being accosted by cabinet every time I crossed the threshold. And it seemed a disservice for me to use it as a storage unit for my shoes and paint cans.

I’m sure this cabinet can do better than shoes and paint cans

After much inspiration from Pinterest, I thought this would be the perfect place for a hallway bench; sort of a mini mudroom, if you will. The bench would be a much better use of the space since a television was never going to live there, and it was right inside the doorway. The perfect place to sit, put your bag down, and remove your shoes.

In the interest of saving planet earth, I try to reuse as many things as possible, including materials I remove from my home. So the cabinet was dismantled as best as possible without damage. If you recall, the bathroom shelves in this post were cut from the frame of this media cabinet. I purchased four brackets for that project. The wood and the paint were all right here, just waiting for a new life.

Possibly my favorite part of the mini mudroom project was shopping for the floor tile. I wanted something durable (more so than hardwood), inexpensive, and beautiful. I spent a good amount of time at Lowe’s and Home Depot, and then I found these beauties. Drool!

These tiles still make me giddy!

These slate tiles are so varied that no two are alike. Trust me when I tell you that I spent a couple of hours sorting through every tile Home Depot had. There was an entire pallet of them, and I felt like I was preparing for an art project, selecting just the right color and texture for each tile. I was in home design heaven. And, at Home Depot, these gorgeous tiles were $1.48 each. I needed eight of them for the project. Yep, $11.84 plus tax. Boom. Of course, there was the subfloor, thinset, grout, and installation, but less than $12 for the tile is huge!

I arranged the tiles awaiting installation

After the tile was installed, the bench and shelf were crafted from the largest pieces of the media cabinet and set into place. I had originally wanted three cubbies beneath the bench, but once I saw it set up, I decided on two larger cubbies.

Bench components set in place

Changing the design to two larger cubbies beneath the bench gave me space for my rain boots and baskets to hold my running shoes and all of Grace’s leashes and what-not.

Almost finished…

At this point, the tile floor is installed, the bench, bench support, and shelf are installed (all pieces crafted from the previously built-in media cabinet), and walls are painted. All that is missing is a row of hooks on which to hang coats, scarves, and backpacks. I asked handyman extraordinaire if he could fashion a coat rack from an old board that at one time served as a shelf in the garden shed. Of course, he said.

All that I had envisioned and more!

Now, when I walk through the door after a long day at work or a five-minute attempt at running, I have a place to sit and to hang my coat. No longer startled by the hulking, well-intended but useless media cabinet. I have my very own mini mudroom.

Cheers!
Kelly

Wall Mounted Coat Rack…for Scarves!

That’s right, a coat rack for scarves. I’ve been wanting something in the entry to catch my scarves, and maybe even my pocketbook, for at least a year. I would find something that was the right price but not the look I wanted, or cute as could be but a couple hundred dollars. For a piece of wood and some hooks! So, as you can imagine, I took matters into my own hands. Sort of.

I gleaned this little doo-dad from the haphazard shelves of At Home for less than $15. It was the wrong color, of course, but paint was sent to earth so we could all live harmonious lives, free from having the wrong color coat rack. For our scarves.

At Home Coat Rack
Vintage/Distressed coat rack on the shelves of At Home

The mirror under which this would be installed is white. The wall, pale gray. The trim, white. So black and ivory just wasn’t going to cut it. No worries–it took about 15 minutes to paint this thing, let it dry, and voila! It was installed just in time for a little soiree I hosted, and I love it! Decorative and functional. No better attributes than those in my small space.

At Home coat rack painted white
Painted white and coordinating with the mirror
At Home coat rack
Summer scarves add color to the entry

This could have easily been wallpapered or stenciled as well. When you feel like a shopping failure and can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, remember, you can always add your personal touch and make it your own. I like it. I like it a lot!

Cheers!
Kelly

How I Curated and Digitized My Photo Collection

It was almost a year ago that I began the photo project. I decided to store all of my photos digitally and toss many of the print copies. The space occupied by the volumes of photo albums was too much for me to handle. As usual, I thought this would be a two-week job; after two weeks, I thought it would take a few months; after a few months I lost interest for a while; and a year later I am finished. I have never been so happy to complete a project in my entire life!

Here is what I started with:

Boxes, albums, and stacks of photographs
The bulk of my photo collection

There were photo albums, boxes of photos, and envelopes of photos in the media cabinet, the front closet, the bedroom closet, under the bed, and in the kitchen junk drawer. In other words, they were everywhere!

I decided to keep some of the photo albums as they were. These are albums from specific trips that are organized and contained, and I wanted to keep print copies of all of them. My trips to Italy, Costa Rica, and the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque are among those that were untouched. However, I was able to empty and donate a whopping 12 photo albums!

12 empty photo albums
These albums were emptied and donated
Photos in stacks according to year
Many, but not all, of the photos to be digitized

You’re probably wondering what took so long, right? Why didn’t I throw these photos in a box and drive them to the photo store and have them scanned, right? Because I had over 3,000 photos to be scanned. Because Costco charges $1 per photo, Target charges .99 cents per photo, and a local Mom and Pop charges .49 cents per photo. I was not about to pay $1,500-$3,000 to store a bunch of snapshots.

So, yours truly started taking photos of the photos with her iPhone. Snapping 3,000 photos normally wouldn’t take that long, but, of course I couldn’t just leave it at that (and some of it I learned as I went). Here is how the process looked in its final form:

  • Sort all photos into piles by year, tossing the truly trash pics that I didn’t need to keep in any format. That took it from roughly 3,100 to roughly 3,000.
  • Photograph each picture with my iPhone. Yep, all 3,000!
  • Edit each photo. Nearly all of them needed to be rotated, cropped, and lightened.
  • Copy edited, digital photos from MacBook to external drive.
  • Rename each photo on the external drive to include the date of the photo, e.g. 2015-04-13 01 followed by 2015-04-13 02, and so on.
  • After the photos were renamed on the external drive, copy to a back-up external drive and then delete from the iPhone and MacBook.

Now you know what took so long. Sheesh! I admit, I lost interest last summer and did most of the work over the winter when the weather was too cold to go out anyway. All total, it probably could have been done in four to six months had I stuck to it a few nights per week. But who wants to do that? I’m more of an “admire the finished product” kind of girl rather than a “hunker down and get it done” kind of girl. Ha!

But, speaking of finished product, here it is:

Eight photo albums and three small black boxes
The glorious after shot

I have eight photo albums and three small boxes. The boxes contain photos from the 1940s with tabs dividing them by year. I tossed a lot of the prints knowing I now have them digitally, but kept prints that are old or have sentimental value. It was around 2010 that I stopped having photos printed, and those are digital already, so all I need to do is transfer them to the external drives.

My only cost for this project was $200 on the external drives. I bought two Seagate 2T drives from Amazon, and have made them mirror images of each other. If one crashes, I still have all of my photos on the other. I’m still nervous about throwing everything in cloud storage, so the external drives are perfect for me.

 

This was a lot of work, but I like knowing where all of my photos are, having them backed up on external drives, and having cleared some space under the bed, in the closet, and in the junk drawer. You know me…I’ll sleep better with that extra space under the bed!

If you like what I write, I invite you to follow my blog, follow me on twitter @kellygropp, or like Chubs Lived Here on Facebook.

Cheers!
Kelly

 

Quick Tip to Air Your Laundry (jeans, I mean)

I’ll let you in on one of my dirty little secrets: I don’t wash my jeans after every wear. Egads! There has been a lot of talk over the past couple of years, with Anderson Cooper confessing that he washes his jeans about four times per year, and Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh stating that jeans should seldom be machine washed. He was wearing a pair that had not been washed in a year. A sponge or toothbrush along with a little detergent is what he recommended.

Once a year sounds a little oogy to me, and even four times per year can be dicey depending on where you wear them and what you do in your jeans. I typically wash mine after every third or fourth wear (again, depending on what I’ve been up to). On my volunteer days at the animal shelter, you better believe the denim hits the machine immediately. But, for the low-dirt contact days, I like to hang them somewhere in the open so they can get some air between wears. The closet doesn’t work well for that since the doors are usually closed and I haven’t purged enough clothing yet to allow for good air circulation.

So, here’s what I came up with: pot rack hooks on a towel bar in my master bath. Yep, less-than $10 for a pack of six pot rack hooks!

DSC_0005 DSC_0003

The towel bar is on the inside of the master bath door, and across the room from the shower, so I never use it for towels. It works perfectly for airing my jeans. You could also hang these in your closet if you have the space. It keeps me from having to fold them after wearing – they can enjoy the wind in their threads. Feel free to share your tips in the comments. We can all use another shortcut in our day!

Cheers!
Kelly

Quick Tip for Small Spaces – Purse Hook Works Just as Well at Home

We all have at least one purse hook for hanging our handbag when we’re out and about, but have you thought about using it at home? I live in a small space, and there truly is no place for my purse. The entry closet is spoken for, the pantry only provides shelves for food items, and if I keep it in the bedroom, I risk rushing out without it. So I took my prettiest purse hook and placed it at the end of my dining table/desk and that is where my purse resides.

Purse Hanger at Home

As long as your bag isn’t overloaded, it’s pretty safe to leave it hang full-time. If you’re a heavy bag carrier, the weight might be too much strain on your straps. But there you have it, another space saving idea for apartment, condo and small home dwellers.

Cheers!
Kelly

Trash Talk (and Recycling in a Small Space)

I live in an 800 square foot condo, so things are tight. I have no complaints about that – actually, I love it. ‘Less is more’ has been my mantra for years. But there were a couple of storage problems that took some time to solve. The trash and the recycling. Where oh where to put them without seeing or smelling them?

I have strong feelings about not having my trash out in the open. No judgment here toward anyone who lets their can live large in the midst of it all. It’s just a personal preference for my space. The biggest obstacle with the trash can is that the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink has very little vertical space. On the left there is the disposal system – not getting a can under there – and on the right is the u-shaped trap that extends downward a good deal.

Barely clearance for cleaning supplies on left, and the trap causes problems on the right.

Nothing labeled “kitchen trash can” would fit.  I looked at powder room trash cans but those were all too small. A friend suggested an office trash can. Perfect! A run to Lowe’s or Home Depot (after so many trips they are one and the same in my mind) and there I had the perfect office kitchen trash can that could be kept out of sight. Yes, it is smaller than other kitchen trash cans (14″H x 12.5″W), which means I empty it more often than if I were to have a full-sized can. The upside is that it doesn’t have the opportunity to get smelly. Can we all say schnoz bonus?

Fits perfectly.

Yet the recycling kept piling up in the kitchen sink. In the kitchen sink! Egads. I thought about a covered bin kept outside on my deck. It’s not far to walk from the kitchen to the deck, but I also didn’t want to clutter up my deck or have birds and whatnot hanging around looking for scraps.

Recycling in the kitchen sink is not pretty.

Beneath the sink was out of the question. It was all that little space could do to handle the trash. The pantry was already chock full. Hmm. What’s a borderline minimalist, OCD girl to do? I started looking for creative ideas at antique stores, hardware stores, and pretty much anywhere I went.

This was too shallow, but got me thinking…
This was nice, but the shape wasn’t quite right.
Looking for something pretty and utilitarian.

I should have known I’d find my solution at the always fabulous World Market. This basket looked just the right size for the little piece of wall at the end of the counter top.

Perfect size.

Admittedly, the recycling is still out in the open. But hear me out on this: 1) it is much more organized and compartmentalized – it has a designated place; and 2) I’m thinking I can get a piece of thin wood cut to the size of the opening and attach it as a flap on top so the recycling isn’t actually visible.

I can add a wood flap/lid thingy to hide the contents.
Look at the pretty! The organization! The order!

For now, I’m just happy the recycling no longer lives in the sink. Whew! You know I’ll be sleeping better tonight.

Cheers!
Kelly

Cash for Your Clutter, and Help Others!

I’ve been on a household purge and declutter kick…in a big way. For about a year. You’ve heard this before from me, but seriously, nothing is safe in my home these days. I typically deliver a box or bag to Goodwill about every month or two. This happens because I try to stick to the rule of thumb “if I buy a pair of shoes, I get rid of a pair of shoes.”  Insert whatever item for shoes. That helps keep the stuff to a manageable amount. But every now and then I do a massive dump, and over the past year I’ve really been focused on downsizing and simply not having a lot of things hanging around that I don’t use or that have no sentimental value.
My usual outlets are Goodwill, Craigslist, and consignment. This time around I found a few new avenues for releasing my goodies into the wild and making or saving a few extra bucks along the way.

Goodwill

I sorted through all of the boxes of stuff that have been following me around for the past 15 to 30 years. Stuff I felt obligated to keep but never saw the light of day. First up was an entire box of tchotchke from my teen years. I sorted through all 47 pieces, chose a few I would actually display now, and put the rest in the Goodwill pile. Lots of current tchotchke went. Games. Clothing and shoes – if it hadn’t been worn in a year, it went. Books I enjoyed but would probably never read again. The bamboo shade from the bathroom window that provided zero privacy. Honestly, I don’t even recall what all went in those boxes. I was possessed and had to get rid of stuff. It felt good.

Craigslist

These items are not quite right for consignment. They still have value and will likely sell for more online than the cut I would get from consignment. Or they are so big that I’d rather not deliver them to the store. SOLD: Black Forest cuckoo clock! SOLD: halloween wig! SOLD: 35 Ikea votives! It amazes me what sells and what doesn’t. I listed an armless stuffed chair and a side table and haven’t received any nibbles. I’ll load them in the car after all and add to what I already have at consignment. BTW, the Hippie Go-Go costume is still on Craigslist. Halloween is just around the corner…
 
Sold – cuckoo clock – $40
 
Sold – votives – $10
 
Sold – wig – $7

Consignment

Clothes with a label, tchotchke with a name (Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc.), sofa pillows, and small pieces of furniture that are in like-new condition. The stuffed chair will be the largest piece (and toughest to deliver) that I’ve consigned. I’ve been consigning about every three or four months and typically have anywhere from $50 to $100 waiting for me every time I stop in with a new load. Nice. The other positive about consignment is that it gets the stuff out of your home now. No waiting for someone to reply to your post and no meeting crazy folks in public places. Even better.

Didn’t sell.
Away with you to consignment!
Didn’t sell (I know, can you believe it?)
Off to consignment!

A friend was doing a donation drive for Dress for Success, an organization that provides business/interview attire and accessories to disadvantaged women. I was happy to donate some work clothing and jewelry. What a need they are serving!

The new avenues I’ve found for donating start with the Boys and Girls Club. I had a bunch of old trophies from my pool league days. About ten of them. I heard that the Club took old trophies to be reused, so I gave them a jingle just to confirm. Sure enough – bring ‘em in! I was happy to have found a home for them and to help the Club. I figured they would give me a receipt to fill in myself, much like Goodwill, and I would list a value of $50. Oh no. They handed over a typed letter receipt that stated the value of the donated trophies at $300. Yep, $300!

Apparently these had value. Who knew?
The other surprise came when I donated two pairs of eyeglasses. I used to drop them in the Lions Club box and be happy to have donated. This time they went to an optometrist’s office and again, a letter receipt was given stating a donation value of $400. Holy deduction Batman! I might even be excited for tax time next year.
I have a couple of old cell phones that went to a local organization, Interact, that provides safety and support to victims of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. Now here, like Goodwill, they allowed me to complete the receipt and value my items. I humbly put $50. It’s a win-win when Interact can program the phones as 911 devices for the women they serve and, there is that additional little tax deduction again.
Lastly, the Big Kahuna of it all is my old 90s jewelry. Remember those paper thin gold chains we used to wear? I had a few of those and a couple of Black Hills Gold pendants that had been hanging in my jewelry box since, you guessed it, the 90s. I threw them in a bag and into my purse (big mistake there) and off I went to National Pawn. The mistake was putting them all in the same bag. When I got there they were in a giant knot. Because each piece must be weighed separately, I had the job of untangling them. I stepped to the side and spent about 15 minutes unknotting gold. Oh well, it paid off because when all was said and done, the nice lady told me it was worth $300. Hot Dog! I walked out with $300 cash in my pocket. Woot woot!

This is what came out of my purse. Drats.
Unknotted and separated.
The chain at the bottom left wasn’t gold.
Odd man out was tossed.
So let’s do a little recap, shall we?
  • $150 – Donation to Goodwill (YTD)
  • $300 – Trophies to Boys and Girls Club
  • $400 – Eyeglasses to optometrist
  • $100 – Business attire and jewelry to Dress for Success
  • $  50 – Cell phones to Interact
  • $  57 – Cash from three Craigslist sales
  • $150 – Cash from consignment (YTD)
  • $300 – Cash from National Pawn for old 90s jewelry
Not too bad for simply cleaning out the closets 🙂
My plan (ahem, challenge) is to not replace all the stuff I’ve worked so hard to get rid of this year. So far I’m on track. Not as much shopping, and when I do shop, I use a lot more self-control than in the past. And it’s getting a lot easier! I really have to want something before I’ll buy it these days. But let’s not forget an incredibly important part of this – the giving. Yes, I am more than happy to get those tax deductions, but more so than that, I want to help. I have the Food Bank on autodraft from my checking account. I donate to the various runs and walks that friends do throughout the year. I donate to the major natural disaster funds. It feels like the right thing to do (for me).
So, if you’ve been meaning to clean out the closet or the attic or the basement, do it! You’ll do yourself a huge favor by freeing up some space, you’ll help your community by donating to charitable organizations, and you can make (or at least save via tax deductions) some cash along the way! I love it!

What are your favorite ways to reduce, reuse and recycle?
Cheers!
Kelly

To Keep or Not to Keep (and how?)

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably noticed a post about greeting cards. More specifically, cards received and the question of whether, or how many, to keep. All who commented were adamant that the cards be kept. After all, they are keepsakes, mementos. As one friend pointed out, the hand written note, sadly, is becoming rare. This is true. I’m giving away the ending here so you don’t fret – I kept them. Not all, but many of them, and I’ll show you what crafty little project ensued in organizing them. However, I may not keep them forever, and here’s why.

Pile-O-Cards to keep (and fit in that box)

Those who had strong feelings for keeping the cards all have one thing in common: they have children. Some have grandchildren. They have someone to whom to leave a legacy. I don’t have children, nor will I ever. I am younger than all of my siblings by quite a stretch, so if we all live the average lifespan, it stands to reason I’ll outlive them. Also, I live nearly 1,000 miles from my nearest niece or nephew. I realize that could change, but given the winters back home and the mild and beautiful weather here in North Carolina, it’s not likely.

For several years I’ve contemplated the fact that when I’m old and gray and it’s my time, all of my stuff will be just that. Stuff. There really is no one to leave a lifetime of living to, and even if I tried to push my treasures onto my family, I don’t see any of them making a thousand mile trek with a U-Haul to collect Aunt Kelly’s said treasures. And the practical, somewhat minimalist in me is pretty much indifferent about that.

Realistically, I don’t expect anyone to sort, ship, and store my belongings that they may or may not appreciate as I did. And after it stews in their attic for 30 years, then what? I have a couple of Rubbermaid Totes full of things I feel obligated to keep because of who gave it to me, who made it for me, or who isn’t with us any longer. I often wish I could let go of that stuff without feeling guilty; it’s as if the giver would know! I don’t mean to sound callous or ungrateful, but for me it’s the relationships, memories, and photographs, those are what bring me joy and help me to feel connected long after the moment has passed.

I wasn’t sure if it was just me or if it was a common feeling among those of us who will remain childless, so I talked with one of my non-mommy friends, and she feels the same. She has just a few cards from a close family member, but beyond that, she does not keep every little thing for the very same reason – it’s only going in the trash one day anyway when she is no longer.

I ran this post by Ken to be sure I’m not coming across as depressed or morbid, because I am neither. He agreed that it is not depressing at all, rather, it is the reality of who I am – a woman who will not have children. A reality with which I am entirely at peace. So please don’t read this post as melancholy; it’s just the facts Ma’am!

Now, with that said, here’s the flip-side. I really enjoyed reading the notes written in those cards! Haha! I have a couple of cards from the 80s, but I began more consistently keeping them in the late 90s (I used to be more of a keeper of things than I am now). I enjoyed my stroll down memory lane, but it took me 20 years to finally take the trip. If that’s my benchmark, I’ll be looking at them again as I retire! Suffice it to say, I threw out some. Cards from old boyfriends who wrote nothing more than “Love, _____.” Cards from people whose names I didn’t recognize, or who didn’t bother to sign the card. But all of the others were kept, and here’s what I did (finally, the good stuff!):

The few that were tossed

I bought a single hole punch and some binding rings from Archiver’s. I could have used the two-hole punch at the office, but the holes are much bigger and would have taken out more of the hand-written notes inside. So I opted for the single punch that left more of the note intact. I separated the cards by person/family, sorted them into date order, and started punching.

Binding rings
Finished product! This stack is from Mom and Dad 🙂

The box started with a few things in it already – copies of old photos, photography awards, concert tickets and bracelets, etc.

The box already in progress
And now with the cards placed on top
all sorted by family
From L to R: Christmas, stationery and note cards,
and cards received

So, even though I try not to keep a bunch of stuff hanging around, at the end of the day I really enjoyed reading what folks had to say to me throughout the years. Even Miss Practical gets a little sentimental every now and then. I won’t say I’m keeping them forever, but they do have a place for the moment. Someday it may simply be in my heart, but for now their home is right there on the closet shelf.

I’d love to hear what you all have done with your cards; how you’ve organized and preserved them, or whether you’ve kept them at all. I agree the written note seems to be going the way of the dinosaur (makes me sad), while space is always at a premium. How about we write more and save less – no rings attached 😉

Cheers!
Kelly

What’s in Your Inbox of Llife? Give yourself the gift of decluttering

You may have noticed Chubs Lived Here has been quiet for the past couple of weeks (well, I hope you noticed). The push to get the condo ready for market has consumed us. I know, I know, enough about getting ready for market. But, you’ll be happy to know, we have been busy as bees here and have the place ready – yahoo! We are going live on Wednesday – buyers welcome! After lugging MUCH to the newly-rented storage unit (something I swore I would never have in my lifetime because if I have too much stuff to fit in my home I just need to purge. hmph. look at me now), after painting this-that-and-the-other, and so much cleaning I can’t begin to tell you…voila! Check out the staged closets. Ooh, ahh! I think that’s my favorite thing about this whole process – the closets. Isn’t that funny? Not the extra space to maneuver in the kitchen, not the super clean carpet, or even the freshly painted door. Who would have thought?

 

the closet-o-stuff
another angle for drama
stuff no more!
Anywho, I got to thinking, why don’t we (meaning I) treat ourselves (meaning me) like this on a daily basis? I work hard, come home and work hard, and usually keep out of trouble. I deserve some space in my closet, dander-free carpet, and a spacious kitchen. But I let all of the things pile up. It’s sort of like the inbox of life. Like the mail, invoices, and to-do lists on my desk, I let shoes, pillows, books, and brick-a-brack accumulate all over my home. Don’t get me wrong, these are all lovely items, but do I need them? I have a list of books on goodreads that reminds me what I’ve read and what my favorites are. I suppose I don’t really need copies of my favorites looming over my head as I watch tv. Same for cookbooks in the kitchen. My favorite recipes can be added to Pinterest. I really could pare my wardrobe down to about half and be just as happy and well-adjusted (and stylish!). Honestly, I only wear about half of my wardrobe anyway. I smell a challenge! Let’s start with photo albums. How many? Maybe 15? Yep. Project No. 1 is to scan as many of those puppies as I can and be rid of the hard copies. I may need to schedule that as Project No. 1 after the wedding though. Seems those wedding projects are piling up in my inbox too…
Cheers!
Kelly